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Old March 10, 2013, 03:26 AM   #1
Leigh S
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pietta 1858 44 Caliber Revolver

The Cabela hand book was saying to use 451 ball and the pieta book was saying 454. Witch is best. And why?
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Old March 10, 2013, 05:23 AM   #2
Doc Hoy
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Leigh...

First, of all... Welcome to the forum. This is the right place to be.

My Pietta takes .454 balls best

When you load the revolver, one of the things the ball does for you is to help seal the wall of the chamber to prevent hot gas from the discharged chamber from getting past the bullet and into the powder in the chambers which are not in line with the barrel.

To make sure this seal is as good as it can be, shooters like to observe a complete ring of lead that is shaved off the the bullet as the bullet is rammed into the chamber.

The ball should be large enough that you get a complete ring.

In addition, the ball has to thoroughly engage the rifling of the barrel. The groove diameter of your barrel should be somewhere around .446, so I am thinking that either ball will engage the rifling successfully. The Chamber diameter is right at .450.

But think about it. At .451, the most that the chamber will shave off the ball is .001 but at .454, you are shaving off .004. This shaving action actually takes the ball which starts out as a sphere creates a flat band all the way around the bullet. This flat area creates more surface for the bullet to engage the rifling.

Other members will very likely wade in with data from a scientific comparison of .451 performance as measured against .454 performance. I never did a comparison of bullet speed nor have I noted much difference in accuracy because I am not that good of a shot.

To me it all boils down to the lead ring.
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Old March 10, 2013, 06:58 AM   #3
Leigh S
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Thank you for the good post. That makes sense about the ring. But what puzzles me is why would the sales man tells me to use 451 and the book thy package with the factory book say use 451 and your wright the pieta factory book states 454.
Knowing this I hope the 451 mold that I order will work out.
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Old March 10, 2013, 07:38 AM   #4
Hawg
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What Doc said plus the 451's may walk under recoil possibly causing an air space or locking the cylinder up.
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Old March 10, 2013, 08:23 AM   #5
DD4lifeusmc
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451 vs 454

Many salesmen don't know anything about BP guns.
Many older originals did use a 451 and is now mostly outdated information.
We have much better quality control than in antiquity.
Plus the big resellers get a better price break on 451 balls.
Best thing to do, is use a micrometer or ball gauge on your cylinder chamber.
Confirm the measurement.
If .446 to .448 then,451 would be ok.
But if .448 to .449 then better to use the 454.
wouldn't hurt to measure the barrel bore at the cylinder end, just to confirm.
Remember, once a ball is pressed into the cylinder it is no longer round.
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Old March 10, 2013, 08:25 AM   #6
Doc Hoy
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Leigh...

You ask some pertinent questions.

Why would the saleman tell you to use .451s?

Well, .451's will work but not as good (IMO) as .454s. The saleman may have had a bunch of .451 bullets he wanted to sell but no .454s. The salesman may be ignorant of cap and ball shooting.

As regards the mold, depending upon which mold it is, you may get bullets that are actually larger than .451. I use mostly Lee molds and get bullets up to three thousand's larger than the mold size.

Another technique is to drop the bullets out of the mold into cold water. This will help them retain their larger size, rather than to shrink as the cool slowly.

Cast some bullets this way and see if you shave a ring all the way round. If you do, you are prolly okay.

If you don't shave a complete ring, then you are relying upon the wad under the ball (if you use one) or the lube over the ball (If that is your technique) to provide the seal on the chamber in addition to the lubricating functions they are intended to produce.
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Old March 10, 2013, 11:10 AM   #7
David13
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I use the .451s. I have found that they shave a nice ring. I have not measured the ring, and my estimates are poor.
The real test I am using, is the force needed to get the ball into the cylinder, and to shave that ring. And that force is rather great even with a lever to accomplish it.
I think if I tried the .454s the lever would break off. That has been known to happen.
Now, I may have a cylinder that is just a bit smaller than yours. Or because my gun is new, it may not have worn out to a larger size as yet. Maybe someday it will.
Or they may be selling me balls that are a slight bit larger than actual .451.
If I ever find a .451 that loads too loose, or if I ever see some movement of the seated ball after recoil, then I will consider going to the .454s.
dc
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Old March 10, 2013, 12:41 PM   #8
Leigh S
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At cabelas thy had no (IMO) and thy did not have the molds either and the 451 was on backorder but at that time I could order the 454 but now it is on back order. May be thy know something a bout it? I am confused. I picked up some 454 about 40 mi away from The house, and if it stops raining I might test the gun. Thank you for all for the help.
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Old March 10, 2013, 01:44 PM   #9
g.willikers
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Just to add to the confusion,
Mine uses .451 also.
Remember, they come from the land of Fiat and Alfa Romeo, where wine is for lunch.
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Old March 10, 2013, 02:51 PM   #10
TGuidry
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My experience at Cabelas when I purchased my Piettas showed me that the salesman was not too knowledgeable and to his defense even said as much. However I was fortunate enough to do some research before buying. The most informative stuff that I've read was from the forum. You need to read the "sticky" post at the top off this forum if you haven't done so already. I actually copied it and read it a couple of times and still go back to it when the need arises.
Oh and I use .454 balls because that was what the Pietta manual stated.
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Old March 10, 2013, 03:16 PM   #11
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I have several Pietta Remington '58s and my favorite one made in 2000 uses .451 round balls perfectly with a nice shaved ring. I tried to ram a .454 in once and it felt like I was going to break the rammer. I also have a newer Pietta with the short barrel made in 2007 or so and it takes the .454 balls with a nice shaved ring. To add to the confusion, I also own a Pietta '58 "Shooters" model with the Remington barrel address on top and a silver plated trigger guard and it takes a .457 ball just like the Ruger Old Army.
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Old March 10, 2013, 03:18 PM   #12
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I use .454's in all of them. They load pretty easy.
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Old March 10, 2013, 05:01 PM   #13
Leigh S
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Well the rain let up and I tested the gun and all went well.
Thank you all for the Info.
PS: I have not micrometer to the balls I got that were packaged 454s.will take one to work tomorrow to see.
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Old March 10, 2013, 05:49 PM   #14
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If the packaged balls are from Hornady....

....I recommend that you mike about ten balls from the box.

You may be surprised at what you find.
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Old March 10, 2013, 07:31 PM   #15
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I hope it all works well for you.
I use .454 and I take the cyl out to load with a portable press. Nice ring.
All good advice above.
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Old March 10, 2013, 09:53 PM   #16
Leigh S
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At this point I am out over $500 the gun by its self was only $229 but with the primers, the starter kit, 2 Lb of powder and A Army holster. I know I will need more stuff lake an extra cylinder and A portable press.
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Old March 11, 2013, 06:09 AM   #17
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After consultation, the doctor's are in agreement...

His wallet will definitely have to come out.

The good thing about the passion is that you can shoot with one revolver so the bulk of your expense is behind you.

The bad thing about the passion is that you eventually won't be satisfied shooting just one revolver so the bulk of your expense is before you.
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Old March 11, 2013, 06:50 AM   #18
Leigh S
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How right you are I am 60 y old now but win I was 26 I had 2 1851 Navy .36 Caliber Revolver Kits, one would not doo. the first one was fun putting it together. The sec one was just work.
Now I do wish I had them today.
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Old March 11, 2013, 07:20 AM   #19
Doc Hoy
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Leigh..

We are similar in our description.

My first revolver was a brass frame 1851 pattern revolver in .36 which I put together as a kit. I bought it in about 1975 or so from Shotgun News, prolly an EMF. And one was not enough.

I got away from the passion thanks to my thankfully Ex wife. Should have divorced her BEFORE I sold all of my cap and ball stuff.

Present wife is much more reasonable. I don't ask her to go shooting and she doesn't ask me to go to church.
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Old March 16, 2013, 09:48 PM   #20
Leigh S
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well I shot he pistol today with 451 and 454 I did like the 454 better.
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Old March 17, 2013, 03:45 AM   #21
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That's the thing about b.p. guns. Seems like no matter how many I get, I feel the need to get more. I have some that don't even get shot very often, I have my favorites, yet I keep buying more. first, it was revolvers, then, single shot pistols, then rifles, and the cycle keeps repeating, lol! I got to the point where I sold most of my cartridge guns to fund more cap and ball purchases.
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Old March 17, 2013, 05:30 AM   #22
Doc Hoy
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Leigh....

Great news.

I think you just experienced one of the interesting aspects of cap and ball revolvers. Everyone who shoots one is automatically a handloader.

Some of us take it more seriously than others (I am one who doesn't take it very seriously..... yet) but we are all handloaders.
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Old March 17, 2013, 10:01 AM   #23
mrappe
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pietta 1858 44 Caliber Revolver

I have two Pietta 1858 bought 14 years apart from Cabelas and a Colt 1860 made in the 80's and with the purchased balls I have found the .454 balls to work better with all of them. The only differences that I have found was in the nipple sizes.
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Old March 18, 2013, 11:16 PM   #24
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After I shot up all my 451s I got 454 rd balls. The 454s seem to do good in all my 44s. 457s seem to work good in my Walker and Dragoon pistols. Most Peittas work ok with 451 rd ball and 454 seems to wook well in Uberti pistols.
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